Frances came to Great Witley village in 1967 with her husband Colonel Hildick-Smith after he left the army. Together they bought Redmarley Orchard on the south facing slopes of Abberley Hill. Frances already had a local connection – her sister was married to Geoff Ballard who farmed in Abberley.
Frances recorded her memories in the company of Peter van Tongeren who initially worked for Frances & the Colonel, then later bought part of the farm to establish Mill Orchards with his wife Julia. They obviously share many memories and you will hear both of them in the three recordings below.
Frances’s family also kindly donated an historic booklet listing all the Rectors of Witley from 1277 to 1910.
HildickSmith_Frances_20140423_1_2 (12 mins 40 secs)
Frances talks about coming to the village and life on the farm and in the village.
HildickSmith_Frances_20140423_2_2 (6 mins 31 secs)
|00.00||Red Marley Hill Climb||1970s onward|
|02.06||Roman vines and history of fruit growing on the Abberley hill||Roman – 1980s|
|03.43||Why damson trees are found in so many hedges – they were grown for dye making||Pre 1970s|
|05.07||How the wood above the fruit farm on Abberley Hill got established||1970s|
|05.42||Children playing up on the hill by the pine tree clump||1970 – 2014|
HildickSmith_Frances_20140423_3_2 (10 mins 9 secs)
|00.00||Water supply off the Abberley Hill||1970s|
|02.00||History of the house at Red Marley Fruit Farm||1947 onwards|
|04.03||Dick Smith, known as ‘Dick the Gypsy’||1990s|
|05.20||The Rectory at Great Witley||1970s onwards|
|06.40||The Goodmans at Walsgrove Farm||1960s onwards|
|08.06||Local Police meeting King Edward VII off the train||Approx 1900|
|09.03||The Dallows & the Tylers at Great Witley||1970s onwards|